Composite video out VS. s-video out, how big is the difference?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by motulist, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. motulist macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #1
    How big is the quality difference between composite video output versus s-video out? When I connect my powerbook to my 4-year old SD CRT TV via s-video the clarity is so sharp that I can actually use it as a computer monitor. I want to setup a computer that's always connected to my TV so I don't have to keep plugging my powerbook into it when I want to watch movies. I came across a great deal on a 1 ghz 12" ibook with a broken screen and broken keyboard that I'm considering using as my always connected media mac, but it only has composite TV output, no s-video.

    Me being a non-video pro, but one with a keen eye anyway, how big is the quality difference between composite and s-video
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #2
    Slight tangent... but if you're talking about an iBook with composite but not S-Video, it's probably an early-to-middle G3 era iBook. Can it keep up with fullscreen video that you want?

    I think, generally, there is a fairly noticeable difference on an SDTV between composite and S-Vid, particularly when you're doing anything like video games or non-video computer display stuff (that is, fonts, icons, text, etc).

    For the video, if your video is more than 240 vertical lines in quality (i.e. if it's 640x480-esque video, or around DVD quality), there will be a noticeable improvement with S-Video. I suspect that if you're using 320x240-ish video, such as stuff designed for the iPod screen, it will be pretty negligible.
     
  3. motulist thread starter macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #3
    It's a G4 iBook with only composite, no s-video. The video types I'm looking for it to playback spans all the way up to DVD quality xvid or h.264's ripped to my 500 GB external drive, as I currently use my powerbook as my DVD player, which is one of the roles I want this computer to fill.

    So the difference in quality is pretty noticeable huh? That's a shame, because I could get this damaged computer for under $200. I need a computer that's fast enough to be able to play all videos without stuttering, quiet enough that I can keep it in my living room, and cheap enough that I'm willing to spend money on it as an entertainment/convenience expense.

    That's a pretty hard niche to fill with today's used computer prices, which is why I am / was pretty excited about this great deal.
     
  4. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    #4
    I had my PS2 connected to my 20" dell LCD screen through both S-Video and Composite. The difference IMHO is very noticeable and I would say S-Video is by far much better than Composite.
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #5
    I don't mean to belabor the point, but... every iBook G4 can output VGA, Composite, or S-Video, using the appropriate one of the right two adaptors shown on this page:

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=88396

    There is no iBook G4 that does composite but not S-Video, unless that very specific feature of the video card or the mini-VGA output port is somehow broken (extremely unlikely, as those pins, but not the other ones, would need to be damaged).

    Here is the video adapter:

    http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore?productLearnMore=M9109G/A

    http://www.amazon.com/Apple-M9109G-A-Video-Adapter/dp/B00008UAXP

    The links may not be persistent, sorry. If not, you can search for M9109G/A.

    Incidentally that spec is wrong on the Low End Mac page. Also the picture is of an iBook G3 and not an iBook G4. ;)

    Here is an accurate description of the iBook G4 / 1.0:

    http://apple-history.com/?page=gallery&model=ibook_g4_ear_04&performa=off&sort=date&order=ASC
     
  6. motulist thread starter macrumors 68040

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #6
    Maybe I'm missing it, but I didn't see anything on that page that said ANY iBook could use those adaptors, and the info grid you posted does not seem to include iBooks labeled as 2004.
     
  7. StealthRider macrumors 65816

    StealthRider

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    Yokosuka, Japan
    #7
    Not all iBooks can. But yours certainly is capable. Pick one up, use S-video or VGA. Steer way clear of composite.
     
  8. Peel macrumors 6502a

    Peel

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    #8
    I'm curious here. Just want to make sure that you aren't confusing the iBook's power port for a composite video port (it looks alot like an RCA connector) The power port is the one nearest the hinge, where as the video adapter plugs into the rectangular port.
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #9
    The 1.0GHz iBooK G4 is the one called "Early 2004" in the grid. But note how all the iBook G4s have the same video output port and use the same two adapters. The changeover occurred in the G3 era -- but all the iBook G4s are exactly the same in this respect.
     
  10. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #10
    There's a pretty big difference between S-Video and Composite IMO, and it's more noticable on higher definition videos.

    Run a youtube video down both composite and s-video, and you wouldn't see any difference. However, run a DVD rip down both connections, and the difference will be obvious. S-Video produces a lot of diagonal artifacts, and reds tend to bleed into blues around sharp edges. S-Video does none of this, and just generally gives more depth overall (which comes from more detail/better movement).

    HD Digital > Component > RGB > S-Video > Composite > RF
     
  11. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #11
    Just to quip, I think RGB / VGA is better than Component, because it allows you a better chance of matching the native display resolution (Component only really supports a few resolutions, and they are often not the native resolutions). That means you get the upstream device (which is more sophisticated than the TV) to do the resolution conversion.
     

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